Supposedly, it’s the coldest snap --- and the longest enduring –that the area has seen in the past 30 years.
Down here, there are two growing seasons, and right now the winter veggies are just about at their end – the spring planting will begin on February 15th!
On one of our jaunts yesterday we had a great lunch out with my two married nieces, and I got to meet my great niece, Myah for the first time ---and we were even able to convince my nephew, Spencer to tag along ---there was food involved, after all!
I’ll write more about where we went in another post, but I wanted to share with you the public gardens where people can rent a plot and grow grow grow!
These gardens are in an area called “Agritopia” in Gilbert, AZ. You will notice that things are being covered up, and covered up QUICKLY due to the incoming freeze.
It’s so wonderful to see things growing so lush and green in a desert environment in January!
There was lettuce, spinach, carrots, Swiss chard, broccoli, beets, onions, garlic, and even cherry tomatoes that were kept growing under the cover of tarps to keep the chill air away.
These peppers have seen better days, but their color was so pretty in the sunshine I had to take a photo anyway!
When we arrived home ---a plan was made to cover what could be covered in my Sister-in-law’s own garden ---and we harvested what we could for a wonderful garden meal of broccoli soup and spinach salad with strawberries.
We laughed as it was declared that “Tonight’s dinner is brought to you by the color ---GREEN!”
Sharolyn’s Spinach Salad:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard (ground)
1 -1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Blend the above and add 1/2 of a thinly sliced red onion. Allow to marinate at LEAST 4 hours, but Sharolyn says it actually tastes better if you make the dressing the day before, giving the flavors more time to meld.
Spinach – fresh from the garden in our case!
shredded mozzarella cheese
No amount is given on her recipe card ---it’s all depending on what is in the fridge!
We were actually out of the pecans, so sliced almonds were substituted, and it was very very good.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
8 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
ground black pepper to taste
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized stock pot, and sauté onion and celery until tender. Add broccoli and broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
We used an immersion blender to blend the soup right in the cooking pot ---but you can pour small amounts into a regular blender to puree the soup, adding the soup back to the pot if you so desire.
You decide how blended you want your consistency to be. I like it when the soup still has some chunks to it.
In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup. Season with pepper and serve.
Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon if desired.
It was a great meal served with hearty French bread slices to dip into our soup and get every last bit out of the bowls!
YUMMY dinner, and great game night with family!